Day 1 Draft Review

Draft Week rolls on with breakdowns of all the picks from Day 1. We don’t do grades, as it would be silly to project how these picks are going to work out five-plus years from now the day after they happen, and because you can get a sense of our opinion of a pick from our rankings and the tone of our comments. As you can see above, there will be a podcast reviews Days 1 and 2 with a couple of minutes spent on each team, then a notebook wrap-up of the odds and ends we’ve heard when the draft concludes. For more complete reports and tool grades on these players, head over to THE BOARD.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
16 9 45+ Corbin Carroll CF 18.8 Lakeside HS contact, spray, speed
26 34 45 Blake Walston LHP 17.9 New Hanover HS spin, physical proj
33 23 45 Brennan Malone RHP 18.8 IMG Academy HS body, arm strength, slider
34 50 40+ Drey Jameson RHP 21.8 Ball State multiple + pitches
56 69 40 Ryne Nelson RHP 21.4 Oregon fb life/angle, hook, RP
74 64 40 Tommy Henry LHP 21.9 Michigan extension, spin axis
75 57 40 Dominic Fletcher RF 21.8 Arkansas spray, contact quality
The D’backs had a cornucopia of Day 1 one picks and did about what the industry expected, going prep/upside high and more college/certainty lower, but not every pick fit perfectly into that dichotomy. Carroll is a dynamic speed/defense/contact center fielder who raked against good pitching last summer. Walston is a young-for-the-class, super projectable, athletic lefty who has one of the draft’s best curveballs. Malone is a more developed power arm who has hit 99, and uses four pitches well. Jameson and Nelson are college power arms who profile more in late or multi-inning relief than as 180-inning starter types. All three of the college arms have vertical arm slots. We like Fletcher as a stout, aggressive power bat who’s sneaky good defensively given his frame and mediocre long speed.

Atlanta Braves
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
9 14 45 Shea Langeliers C 21.6 Baylor arm and glove +, power
21 54 40 Braden Shewmake 2B 21.6 Texas A&M frame, polish
60 HM 35 Beau Philip SS 20.6 Oregon State age, contact feel, MIF
The Braves opted for safety with a catch-and-throw college backstop at nine. Langeliers is a complete defender with a mixed offensive track record, though he was hot during Big 12 play. We were on the low end of the Shewmake spectrum, with many teams having him in the 30-40 range and a couple in the 20s. He lacks a plus tool but is a good athlete with a solid performance resume. Philip is an infield fit with above-average bat speed, but his swing is pretty rough. He’s also young, but we thought he was a Day 2 player.

Baltimore Orioles
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
1 1 60 Adley Rutschman C 21.3 Oregon State everything
42 40 40+ Gunnar Henderson 3B 17.9 Morgan Academy HS age, + arm/power proj
71 32 45 Kyle Stowers RF 21.4 Stanford modern swing, power
The Orioles eschewed any funny business and took the best player. Henderson was a nice value and is probably a safer alternative to the prep arms. He could be a bag full of 55s at maturity. Stowers was a hot name before the draft and had some interest in the 30s. His swing is geared for lift and he’ll play good defense.

Boston Red Sox
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
43 48 40+ Cameron Cannon 3B 21.6 Arizona big stats, + bat, INF
69 26 45 Matthew Lugo SS 18.1 Beltran Academy HS age, frame, ath
The Red Sox should be thrilled with their haul yesterday, despite having the smallest draft pool in the league. Cannon was right there with a handful of major conference college infielders we liked in that range. Lugo looked likely to go in the 25-40 range and somehow lasted until 69 as our 26th ranked prospect. It isn’t completely clear what caused the slide, but it wasn’t bonus demands.

Chicago Cubs
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
27 55 40 Ryan Jensen RHP 21.5 Fresno State velo, fastball mvmt, ath
64 51 40 Chase Strumpf 2B 21.3 UCLA up-the-middle, stats
Jensen had late helium into the 25-40 range as he’d been performing well, holding his mid-90s velo late into games all year, and he purportedly has unique fastball characteristics that attracted him to progressive clubs. He could move quickly in a multi-inning role and continues the trend of college arms for the Cubs. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the Cubs kicked the tires on prep RHP Matthew Allan and it sounds like the D’backs did as well. Allan seems likely to go to Florida now. Strumpf is a nice value as another college infield performer who needs a bit of a swing change to turn him into an everyday player. He also homered for UCLA in their regional just seconds after being drafted.

Chicago White Sox
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
3 4 50 Andrew Vaughn 1B 21.2 Cal elite approach, + hit & power
45 86 40 Matthew Thompson RHP 18.8 Cypress Ranch HS frame, delivery, occ. arm spd
Vaughn continues Chicago’s run on college bats under Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn. We heard if they had cut at three (which they likely won’t with Vaughn), it would have been in anticipation of taking a prep arm at 45, and they got one in Thompson anyway. We were a bit lower on him, as his stuff that flashed plus over the summer was less dynamic this spring. Some clubs thought he may have plateaued. That said, he’s still a long-limbed teenager with a great delivery who has been into the mid-90s for years.

Cincinnati Reds
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
7 7 50 Nick Lodolo LHP 21.3 TCU frame, breaking ball
49 89 40 Rece Hinds RF 18.8 IMG Academy HS elite power
Working under the assumption they wouldn’t get a chance to take one of the six top bats, the Reds had been fixated on Lodolo for a while. He’s the consensus best pitcher in the draft, and Cincy still needs more of that at the big league level. Hinds is one of the bigger boom or bust hitting prospects in the draft, with 70 raw power undermined by whiff issues. He’s a hulking 6-foot-4 with something close to average long speed and he can do backflips, but at times he looks lost at third base. He could be a monster, he could be Jake Gatewood.

Cleveland Indians
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
24 33 45 Daniel Espino RHP 18.4 Premier Academy HS velo, spin
63 85 40 Yordys Valdes SS 17.8 McArthur HS age, athleticism
Cleveland drafts young guys and famous, accomplished prep pitching. Their two picks were exactly that. Scouts worry the bat is light, but Valdes is athletic defensively and super young for the class, so he’s got a shot. Espino at times has shown about the best stuff a prep pitcher has shown (hits 100 mph, with two plus breakers and he knows how to use them) while other times he’s a bit of a bull in a china shop with 55 to 60-grade stuff.

Colorado Rockies
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
23 46 40+ Michael Toglia 1B 20.8 UCLA power, + glove
62 41 40+ Aaron Schunk 3B 21.9 Georgia power, arm
77 HM 35+ Karl Kauffmann RHP 21.8 Michigan slider
Toglia had late helium after a slow start and returned to the back half of the first, roughly where he started the spring. He’s a solid hitter with power and defensive value, but he was brutal for the first month of the season or so, skewing his season stats. He was hot in conference play against the best pitching UCLA faced. Schunk is a swing change candidate with above average defensive ability. Kauffman continues the Rockies’ trend of taking sinkerballers exclusively, with a shot to be a backend starter.

Detroit Tigers
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
5 6 50 Riley Greene RF 18.7 Hagerty HS polish, hit/power combo
47 43 40+ Nick Quintana 3B 21.7 Arizona pop, glove, hair
Greene was long-rumored (like, six months or more), to the Tigers pick. He has a shot to be a 60 hit/60 power right fielder but there’s still some margin for error for him to end up comfortably as an everyday type, especially with his added speed this spring. Quintana is a power-over-hit third baseman with above average defensive ability and a five-year track record on the national stage.

Houston Astros
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
32 45 40+ Korey Lee C 20.9 Cal power, arm, ath
68 HM 35+ Grae Kessinger SS 21.8 Ole Miss def fit, SEC peripherals
Lee is an athletic catcher with power, unusual speed for his position, and a good arm. He also put up big numbers this spring; we moved him up our board a bit seemingly every few weeks. Kessinger walked more than he struck out in the SEC, he’s a middle infield fit, and he’s an obvious swing change candidate, something Houston is good at implementing.

Kansas City Royals
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
2 2 50 Bobby Witt, Jr. SS 19 Coleyville Heritage HS everything
44 56 40 Brady McConnell SS 21 Florida power/speed, SS tools
70 113 40 Alec Marsh RHP 21.1 Arizona State command, breaking stuff
Witt is a potential superstar. McConnell could be a shortstop with power, but we think there’s a chance he ends up with a 30 bat. Marsh is deadly when he has breaking ball feel, as both of them are big league out-pitches when located.

Los Angeles Angels
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
15 15 45 Will Wilson 2B 20.9 North Carolina State age, pop, MIF fit
55 39 40+ Kyren Paris SS 17.6 Freedom HS age, frame
Both players are on the young end of their respective subgroups, college and high school. Wilson has great hitting hands, his power output is real. Paris’ frame has gotten broader and longer over the last eight months, and he’s now a very projectable, speedy shortstop. Strong first day here.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
25 16 45 Kody Hoese 3B 21.9 Tulane stats, ath, body
31 24 45 Michael Busch 1B 21.6 North Carolina power, stats
78 79 40 Jimmy Lewis RHP 18.6 Lake Travis HS frame, spin axis
Hoese is the spring’s most significant pop-up guy and we think it’s real. Busch was good value at 31, and Jimmy Lewis and his curveball will now be developed by one of the better arm-grooming orgs. Busch played some second base on the Cape and some left field this spring, but first base is his best position.

Miami Marlins
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
4 3 50 J.J. Bleday RF 21.6 Vanderbilt everything
35 31 45 Kameron Misner RF 21.4 Missouri LH power
46 30 45 Nasim Nunez SS 18.8 Collins Hill HS elite glove
Bleday is just a great player who has had a great amateur career and passes every eye test. It’s interesting that Misner, who has huge power but a rough swing, was often mentioned with the Yankees and instead ends up with Miami, which is somewhat staffed with ex-Yankees personnel. Nunez is the best infield defender in the class and he’s got a shot to hit from both sides of the plate. A strong first day from Miami restocking the system with upside bats.

Milwaukee Brewers
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
28 58 40 Ethan Small LHP 22.3 Mississippi State spin axis, approach angle
65 110 40 Antoine Kelly LHP 19.5 Wabash Valley JC velo, TrackMan stuff
Small has the Clayton Kershaw-style delivery that creates fastball rise, though Small has heavy fastball usage and relies on deception. Kelly is a big-framed, young lefty with burgeoning arm strength (up to 98 mph) and some favorable pitch design traits.

Minnesota Twins
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
13 22 45 Keoni Cavaco 3B 18 Eastlake HS body, power, speed
39 44 40+ Matt Wallner RF 21.5 Southern Mississippi titanic power, + arm
54 109 40 Matt Canterino RHP 21.5 Rice velo, vertical action
The Twins took power bats with their first two picks for the second consecutive year, then took mechanically eccentric Canterino in round two. He’s probably a relief fit and was in the mid-90s with a plus hook in that role, with more vanilla/inconsistent stuff this spring as a starter. Wallner was also turned in by some teams as a better pitcher than hitter before the year, but didn’t pitch this season due to a forearm strain. Wallner has been streaky in his college career, but there are elements of his game that remind you of various major league stars.

New York Mets
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
12 8 45+ Brett Baty 3B 19.6 Lake Travis HS hit/power combo
53 60 40 Josh Wolf RHP 18.8 St. Thomas HS spin, spin axis, velo
Yes, his age is a factor that moves Baty down the board, but he’s a very talented hitter and we think 12 was last night’s first really great value pick since he could be the best bat in the draft and can play third base for a while. Wolf’s delivery and build is a little scary but he throws really hard (94-97 with life) and creates terrific vertical action on his breaking ball.

New York Yankees
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
30 38 45 Anthony Volpe SS 18.1 Delbarton HS glove, contact
38 78 40 T.J. Sikkema LHP 20.9 Missouri pitchability, velo climbing
67 53 40 Josh Smith 2B 21.8 LSU pop, infield fit
We’re not sure the Yankees are getting a mystique discount on Volpe or if they’ll pay him the $3 million to $3.5 million he supposedly wants; two college guys behind him is evidence of the latter. Sikkema came into more velo this year and retained his pitchability and slider. His delivery was already hard to time. Smith is a lift/hand speed infield prospect who was hurt as an underclassman and has a boxy frame but catches everything.

Oakland Athletics
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
29 29 45 Logan Davidson SS 21.5 Clemson frame, power, infield fit
66 102 40 Tyler Baum RHP 21.4 North Carolina velo spike, slight frame
Davidson was drafted where we had him ranked. He was very productive at Clemson but it always came with strikeouts and he wasn’t great on the Cape with wood bats, but he’s a switch hitting shortstop with power. Baum’s velo was up in the last handful of starts to his best velos from high school, and his breaker was also sharper (92-96, above CB), but he still maintained his command. This is a good pick if he can keep all those elements together, which some doubt given his frame and track record.

Philadelphia Phillies
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
14 11 45+ Bryson Stott SS 21.7 UNLV SS, power
A great get for Philly, as Stott not only fits the club’s competitive timeline better than a high school player would, but he’s also pretty good value, despite industry disagreement about his swing and defensive projection.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
18 17 45 Quinn Priester RHP 18.7 Cary-Grove HS frame, spin, delivery
37 66 40+ Sammy Siani CF 18.5 William Penn Charter HS pop, speed
57 HM 35 Matt Gorski RF 21.5 Indiana frame, power
72 96 40 Jared Triolo 3B 21.3 Houston frame, hand-eye
Lots of upside here, as Pittsburgh ends up a cold-weather prep arm who may just be scratching the surface in Priester. They also get Siani, who loves to swing. He has feel for contact and at least gap power, plus speed, and a chance to stay in center field. Gorski has a big frame and power but might not hit at all. Triolo probably will, but his downward cutting swing needs a tweak if he’s going to hit for any power. He’s more of a standout right now on the defensive side.

San Diego Padres
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
6 5 50 C.J. Abrams SS 18.7 Blessed Trinity HS speed, contact, ath
48 HM 35+ Josh Mears LF 18.3 Federal Way HS XL frame, power
73 HM 35+ Logan Driscoll C 21.6 George Mason bat, body, D potential
In Abrams, the Padres added another top 100 prospect to the best system in baseball. His approach is not geared for power, but he has the raw strength to do pro damage right now. The next two picks caught us by surprise but it sounds like some other teams had Mears in rounds two to three, so it’s not a clear overdraft. Teams did the bulk of their defensive eval on Driscoll on the Cape, because he caught better stuff there. He’s muscular and has a violent but pretty swing, with tools to catch.

Seattle Mariners
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
20 19 45 George Kirby RHP 21.3 Elon command, deep mix
59 138 40 Brandon Williamson LHP 21.2 TCU pitchability, breakers
76 93 40 Isaiah Campbell RHP 21.8 Arkansas pitchability, stats
Kirby walked just six hitters all year and has a bunch of above-average stuff headlined by a fastball. Williamson has trouble holding his peak, mid-90s velo deep into games, but he can pitch and has four different offerings. Campbell is an SEC strike-thrower who some scouts think has above-average stuff, and he really came on last year after being a medical hesitation for clubs in last year’s draft because he missed most of his sophomore year.

San Francisco Giants
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
10 10 45+ Hunter Bishop CF 21 Arizona State power, speed
51 HM 35+ Logan Wyatt 1B 21.6 Louisville power, patience
Bishop has star tools and joins an org whose new leadership comes from an org that was good at extracting the most out of hitters. Wyatt has one of the better eyes for the strike zone in the class and has solid average raw power that he doesn’t fully tap into yet.

St. Louis Cardinals
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
19 18 45 Zack Thompson LHP 21.6 Kentucky secondaries, delivery
58 105 40 Tre Fletcher CF 18.1 Deering HS power/speed combo
The Cardinals scooped up a falling value for the second straight year, as Thompson was in the mix close to pick 10. He’ll probably move quickly like most Cardinals college draftees do, in part because Thompson has such distinguished changeup feel and the 3000-plus rpm curveball to get whiffs. Fletcher was a bit of a surprise because not all teams even bothered seeing him. He reclassified as a 2019 during March, he had a strong commitment to Vanderbilt, and it was rainy in the northeast this spring, making it hard to scout him, not to mention the weak competition. There are arguably 60s on his power, speed, and arm but there’s a lot of risk.

Tampa Bay Rays
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
22 27 45 Greg Jones SS 21.3 UNC Wilmington speed, bat speed
36 28 45 J.J. Goss RHP 18.5 Cypress Ranch HS arm strength, slider
40 59 40 Seth Johnson RHP 20.7 Campbell age, spin axis, ath
61 111 40 John Doxakis LHP 20.8 Texas A&M elite SL feel
Tampa had a good day, adding a college prospect with rare tools, an athletic righty with power stuff, and two young college arms who have traits indicative of further development. Doxakis’ slider specifically has among the best in-zone whiff rates in the class despite looking like a 55-grade pitch, and his velo tailed off a bit late, but the Rays lead the charge in using pitchers for outing lengths that suit their skills.

Texas Rangers
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
8 12 45+ Josh Jung 3B 21.3 Texas Tech raw power, 3B fit, stats
41 82 40 Davis Wendzel 3B 22.0 Baylor stats, well-rounded
50 122 40 Ryan Garcia RHP 21.4 UCLA fastball movement, slider
It’s unclear if Jung is underslot at eight. He wasn’t in the mix until about 13, but Boras doesn’t typically cut underslot deals at high picks. Jung needs a swing change to get to his raw power in games and to be able to pull the ball often enough to be well-rounded. Wendzel was taken late last year, then had a loud return season with a bag of 50 to 55-grade tools as a 22-year-old. Garcia has a four-pitch mix and a fastball that misses bats in the zone, but isn’t physically huge.

Toronto Blue Jays
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
11 13 45+ Alek Manoah RHP 21.4 West Virginia power heater/slider
52 83 40 Kendall Williams RHP 18.8 IMG Academy HS size, above stuff, ext.
Two power arms here. Manoah is a big, power arm who relies on a fastball/slider along with having a workhorse frame that he shaped up this spring. The changeup/command are both about a 50 so we think he can be a mid-rotation starter. Williams’ slot value is about $1.4 million and he had some late helium as a 6-foot-6 righty who was easy to see and flashed three average to above pitches and plus extension.

Washington Nationals
Pick Rank FV FirstName LastName Position Age School Strengths
17 21 45 Jackson Rutledge RHP 20.2 San Jacinto JC 6’8, up to 101, easy + slider
After he was in the 8-14 range a week ago, Rutledge falls to Washington at 17. He’s good value there, even if he does have significant risk of becoming a reliever and has a medical history that makes some pause (two hip surgeries, multiple broken bones). But the raw stuff was arguably the best in the draft and his short arm stroke is becoming more accepted by clubs.

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4 years ago

I can’t believe I’m saying this but…I really like what the Marlins did.

4 years ago
Reply to  Shauncore

Picking at the top of the first round makes it pretty easy. Just give them time to give him away for nothing.